Saturday, January 17, 2009

Israel declares unilateral ceasefire. Good luck with that!

I guess, they don't have anything left to bomb?

Oh oh, hold the phone, there is one school they missed.


"In the northern town of Beit Lahiya, Israeli shells struck a U.N. school where 1,600 people had sought shelter. One shell scored a direct hit on the top floor of the three-story building, killing two boys, U.N. officials said."

Mission accomplished!

Now the Israeli cabinet can get on with putting the finishing touches on the ceasefire arrangement reached between Israel, Egypt and the United States.


"'After three weeks of Operation Cast Lead, we are very close to reaching the goals and securing them through diplomatic agreements,' (Ehud) Barak said during a visit to the south of the country, according to a statement from his office.

The two-and-a-half page document outlines a framework under which the United States will provide military and intelligence assets, including detection and surveillance equipment, as well as logistical help and training to Israel, Egypt and other nations in the region. The equipment and training would be used for monitoring Gaza's land and sea borders. The document also calls for the U.S. to expand work with its NATO partners in the effort, particularly in the Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and eastern Africa, according to a text."

The funny part about this bit involving the US is the fact that, even though, W. & Co. signed on to it, it also binds the incoming Obama administration to the deal. It's kind of hard to be an "honest broker" when you're assisting Israel in keeping Gaza shut tight.

Only two little flies in the ointment I can see here: Hamas says it won't honor the ceasefire unless Israel pulls all its troops out and the Egyptians say they never agreed to help Israel.


"Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Saturday his country was not commited to the U.S.-Israeli pact to halt arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip, telling reporters 'We have no commitment towards this memo whatsoever.'"

Additionally, Egypt is also demanding Israel pull its troops out . . .

"Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called on Israel on Saturday to end its military operations in the Gaza Strip immediately and said his country would call for a meeting on post-war reconstruction in the enclave. 'I call on Israel today to end its military operations immediately. And we call on its leaders to (agree) to an unconditional ceasefire and I call on them to withdraw all the forces completely from the strip,' Mubarak said in a televised address to the nation."

See the problem here? Israel won't pull out until Hamas stops fighting and Hamas won't stop fighting until Israel leaves.

Meanwhile, Gaza is a disaster area.


"Preliminary estimates of the cost of rebuilding from Israel's devastating military offensive top $1.6 billion, according to the diplomats. But they said a full accounting of the damage had yet to begin and would take weeks to complete.

Food, cooking gas, fuel, electricity and running water are scarce, and Israel's bombing of smuggling tunnels under Gaza's border with Egypt will only increase Palestinian dependence on the limited supplies the Jewish state and Egypt let in."

That's a recipe for a stable Gaza! 1.5 million people (average age 17) locked into a small strip of land relying on the very people who wrecked the place for survival.

Meanwhile, the body count so far . . .


"At least 1,203 Palestinians have been killed, including 410 children, and 5,300 wounded, since the Israeli offensive began on Dec. 27, Hamas health officials said. About 45,000 Gazans fleeing battle zones are sheltering in U.N.-run schools. (Which the Israelis keep bombing!)

According to a partial estimate by the Palestinian Statistics Bureau, more than 20,000 residential buildings have been damaged in Israeli air, sea and ground attacks, and some 4,000 totally destroyed.

Since the fighting began, 13 Israelis have been killed -- 10 soldiers and three civilians hit by Hamas rockets."

Now, that's what I call proportionality!

I'm interested to see how all this aid -- food, cooking gas, fuel, electricity and running water, medical supplies -- is going to flood into Gaza while the Israelis, with a little help from their good friends the US, keeps the border crossings closed.


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